Throughout the 18th century, for example, France was the greatest superpower in Europe, if not the world.
But they became complacent, believing that they had some sort of 'divine right' to reign supreme, and that they could be as fiscally irresponsible as they liked.
The French government spent money like drunken sailors; they had substantial welfare programs, free hospitals, and grand monuments.
They held vast territories overseas, engaged in constant warfare, and even had their own intrusive intelligence service that spied on King and subject alike.
Of course, they couldn't pay for any of this.
French budget deficits were out of control, and they resorted to going heavily into debt and rapidly debasing their currency.
Stop me when this sounds familiar.